Where's the Best Place to Buy VoIP Services?
November 19, 2012
By Steve Anderson
, Contributing TMCnet Writer
When it comes to buying voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services, there are essentially three options: white labels, value-added resellers (VARs) and channel partners. But which of these is best to make a purchase from? The answer, of course, will vary according to the individual needs of the business in question, but taking a closer look at these three different types of vendors will go a long way.
First, there are white label partners. White label partners basically sell a certain product or service as though it were their own, but sell it instead under their name. However, white label products come with some problems of their own. White label products often come without warranties or similar problems, but can still provide some solid service. For instance, Best Buy uses a white label partner for its own VoIP needs in the form of a company called Phone (News - Alert) Power.
VARs, meanwhile, take a product or service that's already out there and then, as their name implies, add value to the product or service in question. They may add extra software to a product, add warranties, or offer tech support as part of the extra value.
VARs are also part of the group known as channel partners, organizations that can "co-brand" two separate brands, and indirectly, get access to special perks like early versions of products in exchange for selling the product or service in question directly to their own customers. They operate somewhat like subcontractors, filling in for the manufacturer in marketing and sales, and allowing the manufacturer to focus on research and development tasks.
Which of these is best for the individual company depends somewhat on their situation. Is a warranty or similar support needed, or does the company already have their own IT professionals in place that can fill in the gaps and carry out their own service efforts? Is reliability needed above anything else? While many manufacturers often have some kind of certification process for their partners--both Microsoft (News - Alert) and Cisco have a Gold Certification program to ensure quality in partners--there are varying degrees of quality amongst vendors.
So where should businesses turn? It depends on just what the business needs. There are always plenty of options, but with plenty of options comes the need for plenty of legwork.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey